Baja California gave us a particular style of fish taco in which strips of fish are breaded and deep fried and presented in a flour tortilla with condiments, explains Jane Mason in her cookbook Mexico: The World Vegetarian.
This is her veggie version, which calls for roasted sweet potato chips, rather than deep-fried fish.
Baja-style sweet potato tacos
- 1 huge or 2 smaller sweet potatoes peeled and cut into about 5mm chips
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 16 flour tortillas
- 1/4 white cabbage
- tamarind sauce
- habanero cream sauce (see below)
- pico de gallo (see below)
Habanero cream sauce
- 4 habanero chillies dry-roasted and cleaned
- 1/2 small onion roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove peeled but left whole
- 250ml avocado or other vegetable oil
- 1 - 2 tbsp lime juice
Pico de Gallo
- 2 ripe tomatoes cut into small cubes
- 1/2 small onion finely chopped
- 2 coriander sprigs roughly chopped
- 1 - 2 serrano chillies cleaned, deseeded and finely chopped
- a pinch of salt, plus extra if needed
- juice of 1–2 limes
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6.
- Place the sweet potato chips in a single layer in a baking tray and sprinkle them with the cornflour. Roll them around a bit to coat evenly, then sprinkle over the oil and roll them around again. Spread them out so there is lots of space between them and pop them in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip them over with a big spatula and bake for a further 10 minutes.
- When the chips are about 1 minute from being done, soften the tortillas and place 2 on each plate. Remove the chips from the oven and distribute them equally over the tortillas. Serve with the cabbage, tamarind sauce and salsas alongside for your guests to garnish and fold as they wish.
- To make the Habanero Cream Sauce: A creamy white salsa from the Yucatán, this sauce is very spicy, with an amazing fruity flavour from the habanero. Use sparingly with any sour or rich dish, such as pibil. A little goes a long way!Place the chillies in a blender. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and add just enough water to make the blender go round. Blend extremely well, then push the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the contents of the sieve and scrape the contents of the bowl into the blender. With the blender running, drizzle in the oil to thicken up the sauce. Taste carefully (it’s spicy!) and add more salt, if necessary. Stir in the lime juice, a little at a time, to taste. The salsa will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- To make the Pico de Gallo: A pico de gallo is a rooster’s beak. Don’t ask me how this salsa gets its name! Whatever the origins, though, this is perhaps Mexico’s most famous salsa, and it is good. We eat it all the time.Make just one portion at a time, as the coriander gets limp and soggy pretty quickly, so the salsa won’t last. It’s delicious with corn chips and fantastic on any kind of taco.Mix everything except the lime juice together in a big bowl. Then, slowly add the lime juice, stirring and tasting all the time, until it is as sour as you like. If you add too much lime (easy to do!), just balance it out with another pinch or so of salt (or vice versa).TIP: Try using finely chopped pineapple, orange or mango instead of the tomatoes; or add some finely chopped jicama for extra crunch and flavour.
Mexico: The World Vegetarian by Jane Mason (Bloomsbury Absolute, £20) is out now. Photography by Polly Webster.
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